Ars dictandi

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The Ars dictandi (Latin "art of writing", also: Ars dictaminis ) referred to the ability of a writer to write letters and documents in the Middle Ages . The texts by Alberich von Montecassino from the second half of the 11th century are considered the basis of the genre of the same name. From the 12th century the art of writing developed as epistolography , as the science of letter art , in Bologna into a branch of literary studies , inspired by Adalbertus Samaritanus . His Latin Praecepta Dictaminum are considered a milestone in literary history.

Important representatives of the Ars dictandi are Guido Faba , Magister Bernhardus , Boncompagno da Signa and Bene von Florenz

The Ars dictaminis develops in three phases:

1. In the first half of the 12th century, the first pragmatic letter textbooks with collections of samples were produced in Bologna. The target group were clerics and lay people who wanted to write letters in everyday bureaucratic work in the Italian municipalities and church administrations. Adalbertus Samaritanus' Praecepta Dictaminum , Hugo Canonicus Rationes dictandi and the anonymous Rationes dictandi belong to this phase.

2. In the second half of the 12th century a French school (in the Loire Valley) took over the texts from Italy and added theoretical reflections from rhetoric. The French school introduces cursus (rhythm) instruction in the Ars dictandi. Important texts are the dictamen Bernardi , the Libellus de Arte Dictandi Rhetorice and the Ars dictandi Aurelianensis .

3. In the first half of the 13th century the literary genre spread all over Europe, but shifted its focus back to northern Italy. It becomes part of a systematic discussion of ancient and medieval rhetoric. Representatives of this phase are Guido Fabas Summa dictaminis and the Candelabrum des Bene of Florence.

The development since the 14th century, for example new types of commentary such as in the Notabilia super summa de arte dictandi by Magister Simon, has not yet been systematically researched. The works of Laurentius von Aquileia (around 1300) and his pupil Johannes Bondi v. Aquileia .

In the first quarter of the 15th century, a Magister Nicolaus († 1425) who presumably worked in Vienna wrote an Ars dictandi, which has been handed down in Reichenhall as a manuscript under the title Modus dictandi and essentially consists of rhetorical instructions on the five parts of the letter salutatio , exordium , narratio , petitio and conclusio exist.

The term is also used as a title for modern books, which conveyed an exemplary style of correspondence to the reader . These textbooks dealt theoretically and practically with the art of the letter style and replaced the previously popular formula books. The Ars dictaminis was therefore an intermediate stage of the written letter holder as an instruction for the exemplary letter style.

Ars notariae

The doctrine of the correct creation of documents became independent with Rainerius Perusinus in the 13th century to the ars notariae , whose most influential representative is Rolandinus Passagerius .

The structure of a typical medieval document was therefore subdivided into three main sections, the protocol, the text part and the escha protocol (final protocol).

The protocol of a typical ruler's charter consisted of an invocatio (invocation "In the name ..."), intitulatio (name and title of the exhibitor with devotion: "..., by God's grace ..."), inscriptio (naming the addressee including the welcoming one Salutatio ) and Arenga (introductory phrase). The actual text part that follows was composed of the promulgatio (preaching formula), the narration (description of the history and facts), the dispositio (the legal consideration), the sanctio (instruction on the consequences of a violation of the condition) and finally the naming of the means for Notarization in the corroboratio . In the central part of the text in followed eschatocol the signing of the deed by exhibitors and possibly witnesses in the Subscriptiones and the respective date stating place and time.


  • Franz J. Worstbrock , Monika Klaes u. Jutta Bütten: Repertory of the Artes Dictandi of the Middle Ages, Vol. 1: From the beginnings to around 1200, Munich 1992 (Münstersche Mittelalter-Schriften 66). Digitized version of the BSB
  • FJ Worstbrock : The Beginnings of the Medieval Ars dictandi . In: Frühmittelalterliche Studien 23, 1989, ISSN  0071-9706 , pp. 1-42.
  • Hans Martin Schaller : Ars dictaminis, Ars dictandi . In: Lexicon of the Middle Ages (LexMA). Volume 1, Artemis & Winkler, Munich / Zurich 1980, ISBN 3-7608-8901-8 , Sp. 1034-1039.
  • Peter-Johannes Schuler: Formula book and Ars dictandi. Hardly used sources on political and social history . In: Helmut Jäger et al. (Ed.): Civitatum communitas. Studies on European urbanism. Festschrift for Heinz Stoob for his 65th birthday . Böhlau, Cologne et al. 1984, ISBN 3-412-05884-X , ( City Research Series A: Representations 21), pp. 374–389.
  • Kurt Smolak : Introduction . In: Erasmus of Rotterdam : Selected Writings. Latin and German . Published by Werner Welzig . Volume 8: De conscribendis epistolis. = Instructions for writing letters . Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 1980, ISBN 3-534-05949-2 , pp. IX – LXXXVI.
  • Helmut Weinacht: Dear friends! Your Latin letter is easy to hear! How the German letter broke away from the Latin document . In: Die Korrespondenz 5, 1973, pp. 6-8.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Franz Josef Worstbrock : Magister Simon. In: Author's Lexicon . Volume VIII, Col. 1255 f.
  2. ^ Franz Josef Worstbrock: Magister Nicolaus, author of an Ars dictandi. In: Author's Lexicon . Volume VI, Col. 1039 f.